|Oberdüssel – Kettwig|
|Route number (DB) :||2724|
|Course book section (DB) :||formerly 228 e, c, b, h|
|Route length:||26.1 km|
|Gauge :||1435 mm ( standard gauge )|
The Niederbergbahn branched off in Oberdüssel (near Aprath ) to the west from the Wuppertal-Vohwinkel – Essen-Überruhr (Prince Wilhelm Railway) line. From there the line led via Wülfrath , Velbert and Heiligenhaus to the Kettwig train station , where it was connected to the Ruhr Valley Railway .
Coming from Velbert, Wülfrath station was reached in a tight loop in order to overcome the terrain-related height difference. Until 2006 there was a connection to Ratingen-West with the Angertalbahn , a railway line that was only used for freight traffic .
A remarkable structure along the route is the Velbert Eulenbach Bridge , which spans the Rinderbachtal in Velbert with a height of up to 40 meters.
The Niederbergbahn was built between 1888 and 1926 (with several interruptions) and was supposed to ensure better transport connections between Heiligenhaus and Velbert. Due to the unfavorable topography and the already good development of the surrounding area by the Ruhr Valley Railway in the west, the Angertal Railway in the south and the Prinz-Wilhelm-Bahn in the east, the importance for supraregional traffic was assessed as low from the start. First, a single-track line was built in 1888 from Oberdüssel via Wülfrath to Velbert Süd.
The further expansion via Heiligenhaus to Kettwig was disputed for a long time and the financing was unclear. After the permit was available in May 1912, construction work began on July 23, 1913. The route ran over a large arc around Velbert city center and required the construction of the new Velbert Ost station , which was also located outside the city center (later in Velbert Renamed main station ).
The construction of several bridges was necessary for the further construction of the line belonging to the district of the Elberfeld Railway Directorate ; the largest of these was the Eulenbach Bridge , construction of which began in 1914. After the outbreak of World War I , construction was halted, and it was largely completed by the summer of 1915 (including the use of prisoners of war ).
The remaining construction work on the route was stopped in 1916 due to the war. After the end of the war, the Deutsche Reichsbahn made it a condition for further construction that the city of Heiligenhaus would contribute a third of its financing, which it could not afford. Velbert offered to cover the costs if Heiligenhaus could be incorporated, which they refused there. In the end, part of the costs was taken over by the city of Kettwig and the Düsseldorf-Mettmann district , and Heiligenhaus also took out large loans for it.
The final commissioning of the railway line between Velbert and Heiligenhaus took place on February 15, 1924 for freight traffic and on March 31, 1925 for passenger traffic. In 1926, after the descent to Kettwig had been completed and the Kettwig railway bridge had been rebuilt, traffic to Kettwig began.
Until the end of the 1930s, the volume of traffic on the route was rather low. Due to the intensification of armaments production in Heiligenhaus and Velbert, the importance of the Niederbergbahn for freight and passenger traffic increased significantly and led to good utilization. Due to the increasing bombing of the Ruhr area, a number of main routes were also interrupted, so that occasionally long-distance trains were diverted over the single-track Niederbergbahn, which was approved for a maximum of 50 km / h. Traffic ended abruptly after the Wehrmacht blew up the Ruhr bridges on April 10, 1945; from then on all trains in Kettwig ended in front of the bridge at the Pusch block (today the Kettwig reservoir stop ) until the bridge was rebuilt in 1951 .
Passenger traffic on the railway ended as early as 1960. The section to Kettwig was dismantled in 1961 after less than 35 years of operation. The transport of goods from Heiligenhaus via Velbert to Wülfrath was continued until the end of 1994 (until Velbert until 1996). In 1979 the 3.5 km long section between Oberdüssel and Wülfrath was shut down and from 1986 onwards a few hundred meters in the area of the Oberdüssel viaduct was partially built over with the federal motorway 535 . This is the only section of the route that is no longer fully preserved. From then on, the further goods traffic from Velbert and Heiligenhaus was handled via the Angertalbahn to Ratingen.
At the end of 1995 the section between Velbert and Heiligenhaus was officially closed, and in 1999 the rest of the line between Wülfrath and Velbert was also closed.
The German railway has the route Wülfrath - Velbert - Heiligenhaus, route number 2724, set 31 August 2006 from service and applied for the total decommissioning. In 2008, part of this route was rebuilt and released as a cycle path. In spring 2009, the tracks between Wülfrath and Heiligenhaus were also removed.
Proposals to create a fast passenger transport connection from Essen to Velbert by reactivating the Niederbergbahn via Kettwig and Heiligenhaus never got beyond the planning stage. However, reactivation of the railway line is being discussed in the context of the so-called circle line . The extension of the Düsseltalbahn from Mettmann via Dornap to Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof, which is under construction until 2019 , does not consider a connection to the Niederbergbahn and will be connected to the Prinz Wilhelm Railway south of Wülfrath.
Panoramic cycle path
In order to use the railway line and to secure the possibility of a revitalization of the Niederbergbahn in the long term, planning began in 2009 to build a cycle path on the line . The Niederbergbahn Panoramic Cycle Path was opened on July 16, 2011 and connects Kettwig with Wuppertal and should lead from there to Olpe . In the course of the expansion, numerous bridges were renewed or renovated; near the former railway station Heiligenhaus originated wagon bridge Heiligenhaus first wagon bridge in Germany. It opened on June 26, 2009.
- Bernd Franco Hoffmann: Disused railway lines in the Bergisches Land. Sutton-Verlag, Erfurt April 2013, ISBN 978-3-95400-147-7 .
- Information on route 2724 in the NRWbahnarchiv from André Joost
- Photos from Velbert - photos of the Niederbergbahn railway line
- Velbert views of the Niederbergbahn
- Internet pages of the ProNiederbergbahn eV initiative
- History of the railway line
- Panoramic bike path Niederbergbahn